First Missionary Baptist Church

First Missionary Baptist Church on Natchez Street would play an important role in any discussion about Black history and the Black church.

Two Franklin advocacy groups will be hosting Facebook Live events during the final week of Black History Month.

The Public, which was founded last year as an organization that promotes antiracism though education, advocacy and action, will bring in a Brooklyn, New York pastor to lead a discussion on its Facebook page on the topic of Critical Race Theory Monday from 7-8:30 p.m.

Rasool Berry, who is the teaching pastor at The Bridge Church in Brooklyn and is a writer and thought-leader, has much to share on Critical Race Theory. He will describe what it is and discuss whether it’s a good thing or not. Is it oppositional to Christianity and the Bible? Should you be for it or against it?

Berry insists that many are arguing from an Un-critical Race Theory position just to escape the conversation of systemic racism and injustices. 

“Why, during a time of great social upheaval over racial injustice, has a particular theory about racism become the cause célèbre among evangelicals over racism itself?” Berry said through The Public’s Facebook page.

For any Critical Race Theory enthusiasts that want to get a head-start, check out Pastor Berry's article "UnCritical Race Theory".

Visit the Facebook Page for The Public to view the discussion.

‘Black History and the Black Church’

Meanwhile, the Franklin Justice and Equity Coalition will hold a conversation titled “Black History and The Black Church” Tuesday at 7 p.m. on the group’s Facebook page.

On the panel are Chris Williamson, pastor at Strong Tower Bible Church; Bryant Herbert, pastor at First Missionary Baptist Church and a co-founder of the FJEC; and Walter Simmons, pastor at Empowerment Community Church and also a founder of the organization.

The FJEC, which was founded last year to work on policy changes in Franklin to address racism, has restarted its conversations on Facebook Live after taking some time to “catch our breath” in the latter part of 2020, according to Simmons.

He joined with Williamson and Herbert to plan out more conversations for the community.

“We decided we needed to continue to do our part and tell stories about Black history,” Simmons said. “We had our first MLK service last month, and we are preparing for a Juneteenth 2021 Celebration, so this will be a great continued introduction to the history of African Americans.

“We know about Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and even Malcolm X, but we struggle to understand the importance of other Black leaders like W.E.B. DuBois, Richard Allen, Rev. Dr. CT Vivian, Samuel Dewitt Proctor, Fannie Lou Hamer, Prathia Hall, and even locally, Harvery McLemore, and Dr. Charles Claudius Johnson. We have to educate that slaves didn’t come from Africa through the Middle Passage; they were doctors, lawyers, queens and kings who were enslaved in the American Colonies. 

“This isn’t just Black history; this is American History.”

Click here to view “Black History and the Black Church” on Facebook Live.

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